The “Real” Church Militant


Search the current official Catholic Catechism and you will no longer find the term “Church Militant” … but we know it still exists … because that’s who we are!

The Church militant is the society of all the faithful still dwelling on earth. It is called militant, because it wages eternal war with those implacable enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil … from the Catechism of Trent (Circa 1902-1907).

Here’s one way this works:

John Paul’s role in the collapse of European communism is now generally recognized, but it does not seem well understood. He was not, pace Tad Szulc, a wily diplomat skillfully negotiating a transition beyond one-party rule in Poland. He was not, pace Carl Bernstein and Marco Politi, a co-conspirator with Ronald Reagan in a “holy alliance” to effect communism’s demise. He was not, pace the late Jonathan Kwitny, a Gandhi in a white cassock, running a non-violent resistance movement in Poland through a clandestine messenger service from the Vatican. Rather, John Paul shaped the politics of east central Europe in the 1980s as a pastor, evangelist, and witness to basic human rights.

Primary-source evidence for this is found in the texts of the Pope’s epic June 1979 pilgrimage to his homeland, nine days on which the history of the 20th century pivoted. In those forty-some sermons, addresses, lectures, and impromptu remarks, the Pope told his fellow-countrymen, in so many words: “You are not who they say you are. Let me remind you who you are.” By restoring to the Polish people their authentic history and culture, John Paul created a revolution of conscience that, fourteen months later, produced the nonviolent Solidarity resistance movement, a unique hybrid of workers and intellectuals — a “forest planed by aroused consciences,” as the Pope’s friend, the philosopher Jozef Tischner once put it. And by restoring to his people a form of freedom and a fearlessness that communism could not reach, John Paul II set in motion the human dynamics that eventually led, over a decade, to what we know as the Revolution of 1989.

Read more from George Weigel

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s